So last time I laid out some guidelines for buying food on a budget. Now its time to break down in detail the method I shared in the last post. This example is for the week of 12/2 – 12/8 (Mon-Sun)
First, I pull up the ads for this week on my computer. I check a handful of local stores to see if any sales are worth getting excited about. This week, there wasn’t. Then I figure out how many meals I need to prepare that week. This week its 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 6 dinners. I don’t plan lunches as I always have plenty of leftovers from dinner/ingredients to whip up something quick. For breakfasts I roughly approximate what I will eat and how much fruit I will need (fruit = breakfast of choice. I am a smoothie QUEEN)
Next I look in my fridge/pantry and see what is languishing around needing to be used asap. This week I had russet potatoes, spinach, a sweet potato, lettuce, sprouted tofu and sugar snap peas. I had seen @veggiephile (on instagram) make stuffed sweet potatoes with kale and cannellini beans that looked fantastic; therefore stuffed sweet potatoes with spinach+white beans and a salad is one dinner. The tofu was begging to be stir fried with the snap peas; buy a few more veggies + rice. 2/6 dinners complete! For the rest, I flipped through some cookbooks (Cooks Illustrated is my fave! NOT vegan but very adaptable and recipes always come out amazing) and online to gather inspiration. This is what I came up with:
BREAKFAST: OJ smoothie (fresh oj and whatever frozen fruit from the freezer)
DINNER: Stuffed sweet potatoes (celery, onions, dried cherries, pecans, spinach) + large salad
BREAKFAST: Tangerine + Raspberry smoothie
DINNER: visiting family
BREAKFAST: Green juice (apple + carrot + spinach + lemon)
DINNER: Tofu stir fry (snap peas, mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, onion, sprouted tofu, tangerine sauce) + rice
BREAKFAST: OJ smoothie
DINNER: Veggie chili + salad
BREAKFAST: pomegrate juice + chia pudding
DINNER: oven fries with chimichurri + large salad
BREAKFAST: grapefruit juice + oatmeal w berries and flax
DINNER: polenta with rosemary mushrooms + salad
BREAKFAST: miso soup + rice
DINNER: Pasta bolognese (obviously I omit dairy from this recipe) + salad
Depending on how I feel that day, I definitely switch up my breakfasts, but I like to roughly figure out how much food to get. I almost always stick dinner plans, which makes it so much easier to plan and prep ahead. Although to be honest sometimes there’s a “I’m so sick of cooking im going to scream if I have to step foot in the kitchen again” kind of night. Being a mom can burn you out sometimes! Anyways…Sunday and Thursday dinners get made ahead in the morning or even the day before. I love veggie chili as it is so warm, filling and easy to make ahead. Plus it lasts for days in the fridge, scoop out some and reheat at any time.
Then I compile my list, first writing down ingredients I need for my recipes and then giving my fridge and pantry a once over to see if there is anything else I need to stock back up on. At this point you may or may not have a baby who enjoys pulling things out of the fridge and causing general mayhem at your feet.
Mmmm hmmm. Caught red-handed.
Here’s the list for this week, and the cost of everything on it. Everything is organic except for a few items which are denoted by a *. Prices are in the ( ).
FARMERS MARKET (39)
(5) crimini mushrooms x 1 lb
(6) oranges x 10 lbs
(2) purple broccoli x 1 large head
(2) sweet potatoes x 2
(1) zucchini x 4
(1) green bell peppers x 3 small
(.50) parsley x 1 head
(.50) cilantro x 1 head
(.50) green onions x 1 bunch
(2) carrots x 5 large
(4.50) apples x 6
(2) grapes x 2 lbs
(3) pomegranates x 3
(2) cucumbers x 4 small
(3) hachiya persimmons x 4 (ooey gooey and great baby food)
(6) lettuce x 3 large heads
(3.50) *onions x 5 lbs
(14) quinoa, kale, almond veggie patties x 1 large box
(5) edamame x 1 huge box (for snacks)
(7) frozen peaches/mango/strawberry blend
(4) *garlic x 1 big bag
TRADER JOES (9.68)
(2) bananas x 1 large hand
(3) *coconut milk x 3 cans
(1.69) *red lentils
(2.99) *Candy Cane Joes O’s x 1 box… uhh, obviously NOT healthy but they are only here once a year and they’re soooo good. YOLO!
nom nom nom…I need to make my own! I saw a few recipes floating around….
GRAND TOTAL: 82.18
This feeds my family of 2 adults, a five-year old, and a one year old for a week. Obviously some ingredients were already in my pantry, but a lot of things I got this week will stretch into other weeks too (frozen fruit, big bags of onion and garlic, lentils, and coco milk) so it evens out. Buying in bulk helps to cut down my costs a lot.